EMI artist releases blank CD for file-sharing fans

19 May 2009

What happens when you become embroiled in a legal argument with your record label that scuppers plans for releasing your new album? US musician DJ Danger Mouse decided to release a blank CD-R for his fans, after the album was mysteriously leaked on file-sharing sites.

So is it anarchy for the music industry or just another rethink of the ever-evolving music model?

Danger Mouse’s new album, Dark Night of the Soul, which is a collaboration with Sparklehorse and features artists including Iggy Pop, Frank Black of the Pixies, The Flaming Lips and The Strokes, has been shelved by the artist’s music label temporarily, if not permanently, meaning that it would never have seen the light of day were it not for enthusiastic fans sharing it on BitTorrent and p2p sites.

The album was pulled due to “an ongoing dispute with EMI” that left Danger Mouse with a “fear of being sued” were he to go ahead with its release.

And we can assume that this release of a special-edition album pack, which includes a book of photographs taken by David Lynch of Twin Peaks fame, as well as the blank recordable CD, is a knowing nod to this, with the declaration: “For Legal Reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will.”

The album itself is already available to stream in whole from NPR Music, but this is not that unusual given that Danger Mouse got in legal hot water back in 2004 for his hit mash-up The Grey Album, which brought Jay-Z’s The Black Album and the Beatles’ White Album together.

Where to from here for the suits in the record industry, when artists actively encourage file sharing of their own material?

By Marie Boran

Pictured: Danger Mouse’s Dark Night of the Soul